Location: Bowdoin / Art History / Courses / Spring 2013

Art History

Spring 2013

010. The Museum World
Linda Docherty T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 VAC-Picture Study
An introduction to the history, theory, and practice of the art museum as a cultural phenomenon from the Enlightenment to the present day. Using the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and selected case studies, students will consider issues surrounding selection, display and interpretation of objects; competing claims to cultural property; costs and benefits of designer buildings; challenges posed by war, theft, and censorship; and the ever-expanding and contested definition of art.

226. Northern European Art of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries
Stephen Perkinson T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 VAC-Beam Classroom
Surveys the painting of the Netherlands, Germany, and France. Topics include the spread of the influential naturalistic style of Campin, van Eyck, and van der Weyden; the confrontation with the classical art of Italy in the work of Dürer and others; the continuance of a native tradition in the work of Bosch and Bruegel the Elder; the changing role of patronage; and the rise of specialties such as landscape and portrait painting.

242. Nineteenth-Century European Art
Linda Docherty T 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55 VAC-Beam Classroom
A survey of painting and sculpture in Western Europe from 1750 to 1900, with emphasis on France, England, and Germany. Individual artists will be placed in the context of artistic movements (neoclassicism, romanticism, realism, impressionism, post-impressionism, and symbolism) and historical events. Issues to be discussed include revolutionary challenges to academic authority, the growing influence of art criticism, the relationship between art and society, and the origins of modernism.

243. Modern Architecture: 1750 to 2000
Jill Pearlman M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 Adams-208
Examines major buildings, architects, architectural theories, and debates during the modern period, with a strong emphasis on Europe through 1900, and both the United States and Europe in the twentieth century. Central issues of concern include architecture as an important carrier of historical, social, and political meaning; changing ideas of history and progress in built form; and the varied architectural responses to industrialization. Attempts to develop students’ visual acuity and ability to interpret architectural form while exploring these and other issues.

244. Shoot, Snap, Instagram: A History of Photography in America
Dana Byrd M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 VAC-Beam Classroom
A survey of photography made and experienced in the United States from the age of daguerreotypes and until the era of digital image processing. Addresses the key photographic movements, works, practitioners, and technological and aesthetic developments while also considering the social, political, cultural and economic contexts for individual photographs. Photographers under study include Watkins, Bourke-White, Weegee, and Weems. Readings of primary sources by photographers and critics such as Stieglitz, Sontag, Abbott, and Benjamin bolster close readings of photographs. Builds skills of discussing, writing and seeing American photography. Incorporates study of photography collections across the Bowdoin campus.

254. Contemporary Art
Pamela Fletcher T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 VAC-Beam Classroom
Art of Europe and the Americas since World War II, with emphasis on the New York school. Introductory overview of modernism. Detailed examination of abstract expressionism and minimalist developments; pop, conceptual, and environmental art; and European abstraction. Concludes with an examination of the international consequences of modernist and contemporary developments, the impact of new electronic and technological media, and the critical debate surrounding the subject of postmodernism.

316. Memory, Mourning, and the Macabre: Visualizing Death in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe
Stephen Perkinson T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25 VAC-Picture Study
In pre-modern Europe, people lived in the shadow of death. This was true in literal terms – mortality rates were high – but also in terms of art: the imagery of the period was saturated with images of death, dying, and the afterlife. This course examines how images helped people confront profound questions about death: What happens to the “self” at death? What is the relationship between the body and the soul? What responsibilities do the living have to the dead? We will address these issues through tomb sculptures; monumental paintings of the Last Judgment; manuscripts containing accounts of journeys to the afterlife; prayer beads featuring macabre imagery; and other related items.

320. Historicizing Contemporary Chinese Art
Peggy Wang M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25 VAC-Picture Study
Traces the development of contemporary art in China over the past 30 years in light of vast market and political reforms. Considers how contemporary Chinese artists and their work have been affected by globalization, urbanization, and nationalism. Also studies how art critics and art historians have interpreted trends according to binaries such as global/local, East/West, and modern/traditional. Covers a range of media including oil, ink, performance, installation, video, and photography. Interrogates such questions as: How do artists reconcile collective historical memory with expressions of individuality? How do Zen Buddhism and postmodernism intersect in contemporary Chinese art?

384. Bad Art: An Alternative History of Modern and Contemporary Art
Pamela Fletcher T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 VAC-Picture Study
What is the difference between good art and bad? Why do categories of value change over time? Since the last decades of the nineteenth century, a modernist aesthetic valuing formal innovation and absorptive autonomy has been a powerful force in making these distinctions. This class examines the modernist evaluation of “good” art by attending to its opposite: those visual qualities, forms, and media that modernist criticism labeled “bad art” and cast out of the canon. Topics covered may include narrative and sentimental art; early popular cinema; comic strips and graphic novels; “outsider” art; regional art; relational aesthetics; and the self-conscious creation of “bad art.”